Local students create art with company surplus
By April M. Havens
The tenth annual Art of Found Objects Silent Auction benefit for art programs in Miami-Dade County Public Schools will put up for auction more than 150 art pieces created by local students and teachers and more than 60 luxury items, organizers say.
This year will also include a new charity casino element, organizers add.
The event, sponsored by The Education Fund, Ocean Bank and the Doral Golf Resort & Spa, will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa, 4400 NW 87th Ave.
Linda Lecht, president of The Education Fund, said each work of art on auction was created from recycled materials provided by the Ocean Bank Center for Educational Materials, a free school material warehouse for local teachers that was formed in 1983 after Hurricane Andrew left the area with a surplus of miscellaneous materials and remnants.
Items such as sequined paper, leftover supplies from a company's letterhead overhaul, plastic perfume bottles, pencils, historical calendars of South Florida, ceramic tiles, books and telephone wire are available to teachers to creatively use in classrooms.
Each year since the birth of the auction, art teachers and their students have used the materials to make found art, which is put on exhibit in Ocean Bank for a month and judged by visitors.
Winning entries are included in the yearly auction.
Proceeds from the art go directly back to the school's art class, Ms. Lecht said.
"With budget cuts the way they are, one of the first things to get cut is the arts," she said. "We write a check directly to the school so they can buy more art supplies. It's like a grant to the teacher."
While much art sells for $10 to $30, some pieces cause bidding wars and sell for $800 to $1,000, Ms. Lecht said.
"We have very generous donors, and they just really get into the spirit of it."
Luxury items, such as hotel stays, cruises, rentals for specialty vehicles such as Hummers, massages, spa treatments and rounds of golf, will also be auctioned, Ms. Lecht said. These proceeds will go to benefit the Ocean Bank Center for Educational Materials, which will continue to provide supplies not only to art teachers but to all teachers in the county.
An on-site charity casino will run all night too, and gamblers will win prizes while they support local arts education.
Guests can play casino games such as roulette and black jack. "To clean out the pockets," joked Jose Concepcion, president and CEO of Ocean Bank.
Ileana Portal, Ocean Bank marketing officer and art auction committee director, said the event was created to "basically recognize the creativity that our public school students have."
She said the teachers are invited to the event, and they "are floating" all night as a result of the support.
"There is a lot of talent out there," Mr. Concepcion said, saying that both he and Ms. Portal purchase art at every auction event.
Tickets begin at $100 and may be purchased online at www.educationfund.org or by calling (305) 892-5099, extension 23 or 10. A ticket includes an open bar, sponsored by Bacardi, and dinner. Night of event registration is permitted.